4a hair has a defined curl pattern almost like a “s” shape. Generally speaking it retains moisture fairly well, but as with most curly hair types can still be prone to dryness. Being that this hair type has a naturally defined curl pattern wash n’ go styles may be a great option as it can be easily achieved with the right product and technique.

4b hair has a “z” shape pattern and has a more fluffy cottony appearance. Due to the bends and curves in the hair strand it is highly susceptible to dryness and breakage. This hair type shrinks up to 70% so without stretching out the hair it will appear shorter than it actually is.

4c hair looks similar to 4b hair type only it is more tightly coiled. In its raw state (no products added and freshly washed) it does not have a defined curl pattern. Coils have to be defined by either twisting, braiding, or shingling through the strands. Many 4c naturals have shrinkage up to 70% or more. 4C hair type does best with products on the heavier creamier side. Learn more about the best 4c hair products. In order to grow 4c hair long, you have to be very gentle with it as it is the most fragile hair type. See more tips for 4C hair growth also see 4C hairstyles that help to reduce tangles and breakage.


3a hair has well defined loopy curls. It may be prone to frizz, so it is best to use light products that will give you a nice hold. To avoid dryness for daily cleansing of the hair try cleansing your hair with conditioner only.

3b hair curls are well defined with less space between each bend and curve than 3a hair. The texture may be coarse and dense. To prevent buildup use light products and use cleansers that are sulfate free and silicone free.

3c hair as a defined corkscrew shape and has the smallest space between the bends in the hair strand of all the type 3 hair types. Avoid heat use when possible by instead using stretching techniques: braids, twists or bunning your hair. Cleanse and deep condition once per week and  moisturize often with light botanical gels free from harsh ingredients.

More than one hair type?

It’s quite common for us to have more than one texture in our hair. Your edges may be 4b while the majority of your hair is 4a type. Or you may have 4a hair with some 3c strands for example. Remember no two heads of hair are alike. Hair type systems are good for learning about your hair or what could potentially be best for it, but they are by no means an absolute standard. Use it as guidance and always go by what you know works best for your hair.

379 thoughts on “Know Your Hair Type”

  1. I have 4c type hair. I wore perms for years on my hair, frankly I forgot how curly my hair was. I haven’t had a perm for almost 5 years. A lot of my hair have come out and for a long time I wondered why my hair was shedding when I would wash it. It shrinks. For the past few weeks I have been using a mixture of oils on my scalp and hair. I have found aloe vera works well conditioning my hair. My hair have come out in the back. I am following a regime I have seen tutorial on mixing oils. I really don’t have a problem with my hair growing. However, the spot in the back I want to grow back in and thickness come back. I read an article on the types of hair women of color have; the article helped me to understand my 4c type and inbrace my hair type. The shrinkage is good. When I twist out the hair I have length, but it shrinks a lot. Just need help in what good products to use on my 4c type hair. Any feedback?

    Kind Regards ,

    1. Our situations are very similar. I’ve been without a perm for 5 years and experienced my hair thinning a bit. Until I started using rice water. Have you tried rice water? I have been using it for a few months now and I have 4c hair. I had a bald spot for the past 15 years but since using rice water the hair has finally started growing there. Try it and see if it works for you. It has been working for me.

  2. My hair is a solid mix of 3c and 4a and I wanted some advice on how to style my hair. I want to leave it out rather than have it braided but I don’t know how to handle my hair and I finally want to learn how to manage it. My mom is willing to help but her hair is straighter that 3a so I’m a little unsure of how knowledgeable she will be about my hair. I appreciate any suggestions. You guys seem to know what you’re doing

  3. My hair is a true 4c. It shrinks in seconds. I once blow dried it and in about 1hr it was back to original state. What do I do? I dont want to braid it because my hair line is weak neither do I wanna chop it off coz it is winter here what do I do?

    1. Maybe try two cornrows in a bun. I like that style and do it a lot. It isn’t tight and is a protective style. My hair has grown a lot in this style.

  4. Hey yall, i took the test and i have 4b hair!!! i also feel like i have some 4a curls, i need some hairstyles and a everyday,weekly and monthly hair routine…… girl pls give me some tipsssss

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